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8 Classic Progressive Metal Albums That Haven’t Aged A Day (Part 2)

Shadow Gallery – Tyranny (1998)

<br />Shadow Gallery - Tyranny

Opening with an instrumental that ably combines all the facets progressive metal fans demand, Shadow Gallery‘s whirlwind of keys, staccato riffs and high tempos may dial down the heavy when compared to many bands in this feature but Tyranny is still defiantly prog metal, even if it favours melody over muscle.

Maintaining a relatively streamlined – and radio friendly – approach Tyranny‘s high calibre songwriting is of a consistency rarely heard, amounting to an album that must be absorbed in its entirety to appreciate its true scope. Nevertheless, “I Believe” is a noteworthy epic featuring (brief) guest vocals from Dream Theater‘s James LaBrie and the stop-start clash of intricate riffs, layered keyboards and harmonies on “Mystery” are highlights.

True prog metal fans revere Tyranny as a benchmark of the genre and this lofty position has yet to be usurped in the preceding years. Classic and highly influential.

Ayreon – Into The Electric Castle: A Space Opera (1998)

Ayreon - Into The Electric Castle (A Space Opera) | Releases | Discogs

Ayreon‘s space opera is a sci-fi concept album so mind-bogglingly immersive that its highly accessible nature stands as testament to the skills of Ayreon‘s songwriter, producer, singer and multi-instrumentalist; Arjen Anthony Lucassen.

Channeling the no fear attitude of prog rock giants Yes, this terminally unfashionable pinnacle of progressive metal is in fact a timeless ode to unshackled escapism and indulgent flights of fancy and is an essential masterwork. Camper than a clearance sale at Millets, Into The Electric Castle‘s irresistable sense of fun throws everything into the mix; prog rock/metal, neo-classical, space-rock, folk and jazz-fusion all make an appearance and all (somehow) blend seamlessly.

“You must enter the nuclear portals of the electric castle!” instructs the narrator on “Welcome To The Dimension”, who are we to argue when the journey is still this enthralling and this captivating well over two decades later.

Dream Theater – Metropolis Pt.2: Scenes From A Memory (1999)

Dream Theater – Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory (1999, CD) - Discogs

A melting pot of trad metal riffs, shred-heavy guitars and copious amounts of old-school inspiration courtesy of the likes of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Rush, Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory – the long awaited follow-up to “Metropolis – Part I: The Miracle And The Sleeper”, found on 1992’s equally accomplished album Images And Words – is commonly regarded as Dream Theater‘s pièce de résistance.

Dream Theater have come close to matching the sheer genius on display here many times (Images And Words / Train Of Thought /Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence) but Metropolis is the epitome of their fearless approach to progressive music.

One listen to “Fatal Tragedy”, a furious mix of Queen meets Metallica meets Yngwie Malmsteen, should be enough to convince you that this album is as monumental now as it was back in 1999.  

Control Denied – The Fragile Art Of Existence (1999)

The Fragile Art Of Existence - Album by Control Denied | Spotify

It all led to this.

From the neanderthal, gore-drenched days of Death‘s Scream Bloody Gore and Leprosy, to the ever increasing progressive nature of each subsequent release, Chuck Schuldiner’s genre-defining creative spirit was always striving to expand death metal’s boundaries and The Fragile Art Of Existence – Control Denied‘s only studio album –  would prove to be the swansong that altered perceptions once and for all.

Handing vocal duties to the all-together more accessible Tim Aymar, Chuck Schuldiner was free to concentrate on his impeccable musicianship and incredibly intricate and varied compositions. From doom-passages to blistering death metal speed finessed to the point of perfection, not a single moment is wasted on an album that should have led to greater things.

As it transpired, the world was robbed of one of its most creative minds when Chuck succumbed to brain cancer in 2001 but at least the Fragile Art Of Existence left us with a cacophony of ideas, tempos and atmospherics that ebbed and flowed at such a rate that even now, it can become impossible to keep up with the myriad of changes.


About Chris Jennings (1871 Articles)
I love metal. Always have. Always will. As editor of Worship Metal - a site dedicated to being as positive about metal and its myriad of sub-genres as possible - my aim is to 'worship' metal through honest reviews, current news and a wide variety of features; offering the same exposure to underground bands as we do to mainstream/well known acts. Our mantra; the bands are partners and we exist to serve the bands \m/

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